Ceroc is a partner dance best described as a derivative of Jive, but with minimal footwork. It is very loosely derived from many other dances including French Jive, Swing, Lindy Hop, and Rock and Roll, and more recently West Coast Swing, the main difference being minimal footwork which makes it more accessible to beginners. It is a good dance style as an introduction to dance, it bears very little resemblance to Salsa other than some of the hand holds.
'Ceroc' is also now the brand name of the leading franchise of the dance, which is also known as 'Modern Jive' and taught by other independent organisations such as LeRoc in the UK. Ceroc is an international dance club which has with over 100 venues across the UK as well as national and regional competitions and weekend events throughout the year. It also has franchises in many other countries in Europe, Asia and the antipodes.
Ceroc is danced to almost any music, typically 60s through to modern popular music. It is generally danced to music with 4 beats to the bar (quadruple or common time), from latest chart hits to big band music and everything between, in a wide variety of tempos from slow to very fast. It doesn't require special clothes, though for both men and women, smooth soled (non-rubberised) shoes that are easy to turn/spin in are highly recommended. For women, flats or shoes with a Cuban heel are ideal, high-heels are not recommended.
Like many partner dances, Ceroc is traditionally a male-led dance. However, many female dancers today also learn the lead role, even though few male dancers learn the follow role. This is usually because Ceroc events have more female participants than male ones, and many males are less comfortable engaging in a partner dance with a member of the same sex than females are.
It is sometimes suggested that Ceroc is suited to any type of music, but this is not strictly true it best suits a tempo ranging from around 100 - 150 beats per minute. Outside the UK, Ceroc is less common, although it is very popular in Australia and New Zealand, and is slowly spreading to other areas of the world. The name 'Ceroc' is said to derive from the French "C'est le roc" (it's roc), used to describe rock n' roll dancing in France.
History of Ceroc
Ceroc was created in London, England, by James Cronin, the son of writer Vincent Cronin, and grandson of Scottish author A. J. Cronin. In January 1980 he held the first ever Ceroc event in Porchester Hall in London. By 1982, Ceroc had a cabaret team that performed routines in London nightclubs and venues. Throughout the spring and summer of 1982, the Ceroc troupe worked with choreographer Michel Ange Lau, whose classes Cronin and Sylvia Coleman had attended at the Centre Charles Peguy, a French youth centre, in Leicester Square. The first recording of Ceroc moves appears on the description for the "Gold Bug" routine, performed at the 1982 Ceroc Ball, a charity event, at the Hammersmith Palais.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Cronin and Sylvia Coleman created Ceroc Enterprises, registered Ceroc as a trademark and started to sell Ceroc franchises around the country. In 1992, the Ceroc Teachers Association (CTA) was created, with associated examinations – all Ceroc teachers had to pass the relevant CTA examinations to be licensed to teach Ceroc. In 1994, Ceroc introduced taxi dancers to their venues to assist beginner dancers.
In the early 2000s, Cronin and Coleman sold Ceroc Enterprises to Mike Ellard, the current owner. By 2004, Ceroc Enterprises were running over 100 different venues, and claimed attendance figures of 500,000. In 2006, Ceroc started expanding into the "Weekender" market.
As of 2008, Ceroc Enterprises has franchises operating in Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, the UAE, Canada, the United States and Hong Kong. As of September 2008, there are over 30 Ceroc franchises running in the United Kingdom and 150 Ceroc venues there. There are also Ceroc organizations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Dubai.
Apart from the franchises described above, there are Ceroc organisations in Australia and New Zealand. Ceroc Enterprises is a separate company to Ceroc Australia and Ceroc and Modern Jive Dance Company or CMJ (also based in Australia). These Australian companies are not franchisees of Ceroc Enterprises. Similarly, there is no legal connection between Ceroc Enterprises and Ceroc New Zealand. In November 2013 'Ceroc Australia' was sold to 'Ceroc and Modern Jive Dance Company or CMJ to bring them both back under the same umbrella since they split in 1998.
Ceroc and Modern Jive
Outside of the Ceroc Franchise, the dance style Modern Jive is also taught and danced in many independent venues, where it is commonly called LeRoc. Originally it was the same dance taught in Ceroc venues and independents, but these have diverged slightly over the last 20 years. However, dancers who have learned at either Ceroc venues or independents can dance together in freestyle, as underneath stylistic differences it is fundamentally the same dance. Ceroc franchise venues often attract a younger demographic than independents, largely because of their branding and that they often recruit younger teachers, however this is by no means ubiquitous.
In 1990, Robert Austin, an original Ceroc franchisee who had broken away from Ceroc to form LeJive, coined the term "Modern Jive". This became an alternative generic term for the dance form, and was used by teachers and clubs that were not part of the newly created Ceroc Enterprise.
Most Ceroc venues run regular classes, every week, usually on Monday through Thursdays.
Ceroc class formats are quite different from most other dance forms, in that:
- Students are typically taught in rows taught from a stage, rather than gathered around the teacher.
- Class sizes are typically larger - often over 100 people per class in some UK venues.
- Classes are highly-structured; a precise routine is taught to the leads who then lead the follows
- Beginner routines are centrally-controlled; each venue teaches the same beginner class on a given day.
- Partners are rotated frequently - typically every couple of minutes - so allowing Ceroc to advertise classes as "no partner required".This helps in the learning process as when you attend a Ceroc lesson you will dance with experienced and beginners alike. Lessons are organised so that partners are rotated every few minutes, or every couple of moves.
- A small number of volunteer experienced dancers (called taxi dancers or taxis) are often available specifically to dance with beginners.
- Dancers pay for the evening, rather than paying per class.
- A Beginners lesson, involving a routine of 3 moves drawn from a restricted repertoire of 12 moves, and lasting approximately 45 minutes. The Beginners routine taught on any given day is the same across all teachers and all venues. This is intended to allow beginners to practice what they have learned with beginners from other venues.
- A freestyle period of approximately 15 minutes, in which beginners are encouraged to practise what they have learned, and experienced dancers are free to dance whatever they wish. No moves are barred during a freestyle period, except aerials, and moves are improvised on the spot to the music. Partner swapping occurs whenever the music changes, and does not require leaving the dance floor.
- An Intermediate lesson, involving a routine of 3 moves drawn from a much larger repertoire of Intermediate-level moves, and lasting approximately 45 minutes. At least one of the Intermediate moves will be a Classic move which is intended for new Intermediate dancers. Many of the harder Intermediate moves are based around these Classic moves. There are 24 Classic moves. Individual teachers are less constrained as to the content of the intermediate-level lesson. Intermediate moves are more complex and may contain footwork.
- In many venues, depending on available space, a Beginners Practice Session takes place at the same time, where beginners may review the moves taught in the Beginners lesson with the help of the taxi dancers. Beginners may instead watch the Intermediate lesson, if they so choose. The usual recommendation is for Beginners to complete approximately six Beginners classes before attempting to move up to Intermediate level.
- A second freestyle period lasting for the rest of the evening, which is around an hour and a half to two hours.
The start time varies from venue to venue, but is generally between 7pm and 8pm. Sunday classes often start earlier. Whatever the start time, the entire evening lasts three to four hours in most venues (with rare exceptions).
A Beginner Progression class (also known variously as Bridging, Beginner Consolidation, Intromediate or Freestyle class ) taught at the same time as the Intermediate or Intermediate/Advanced class has also been introduced in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide, involving a breakdown of technique and either a review of the preceding Beginner class (possibly with some extensions or variations to the moves from that class) or a new routine drawn from a mixture of intermediate and beginner level moves . This class is taught at the same time as the Intermediate class.
Individual teachers are less constrained as to the content of the Intermediate classes, however there is generally a stronger focus on technique (footwork, frame & connection, balance etc.), intermediate skills (dips & drops, leans, spinning etc.) and styling rather than just teaching moves.
A video clip of a Ceroc class filmed in Melbourne can be seen at Mind Body & Soul
Most Australian schools teach "Step" footwork. See Modern Jive#Step footwork vs Rock footwork
New Zealand format
In New Zealand there are typically Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced classes, with the clearer separation of moves between the classes. Moving up the classes leads to moves which are more complicated, more syncopated and physically closer. Beginners moves have 2-4 timing, preserve contact between partners at all times, have single speed, single turn spins, the dancers keep their balance (no leans, drops or dips) and partners only contact with each other is hands, arms and shoulders. Intermediate moves introduce single speed double spins and assisted double speed turns, contact with the partners back, and leans (in which one partner takes the others' weight with their body). Advanced moves can include multiple speed, multiple turn spins, loss of contact, significant syncopation, dips and drops (in which one partner takes the weight of the other with their arms) and/or contact with different body parts.
Freestyles and Tea Dances
As well as regular class nights, most Ceroc franchises put on special events, termed 'Freestyles', on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Sunday freestyles are termed 'tea dances' and are often held in the afternoon rather than evening. Some freestyle events begin with an 'icebreaker' class, usually at an intermediate level as beginners are unlikely to attend freestyles.
A typical Saturday night freestyle would begin at either 8pm or 9pm and run until between 12midnight and 2pm. Freestyles are usually held at larger venues such as town halls, and often have two rooms: the Main Room, usually the largest room playing up tempo music between 100 and 150BPM; and often a 'Blues Room' or 'Chillout' room, playing slower music between 80 and 110BPM, allowing for slower dancing focusing more on connection, interpretation and musicality.
Many Ceroc teachers also occasionally run daytime dance workshops at weekends, which in the UK are known as Cerocshops. A workshop lasts for four hours, and covers more moves than are covered in a single regular evening class. The standard Ceroc workshops are graded (Beginners 1, Beginners 2, Beginners Plus, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, and Intermediate Plus). Specialised workshops may also be available which cover more advanced techniques and styles such as Dips & Drops, Baby Aerials, Double Trouble (one lead, two follows), Switch it Up (swapping partners), Ceroc to Blues, Footwork, Frame, Spins & Turn technique, Musicality, Connection & Posture. The frequency and content of these workshops depends on the resident teacher or guest teachers who may teach various workshops over the course of a weekend often with a freestyle party in the evening such as Ceroc Aberdeen's Beach Ballroom Weekend or Ceroc Conexion's Extreme Mini Weekender.
Ceroc Enterprises holds an annual UK Ceroc dance championship. This is held in London (currently at the Watford Colosseum) at the beginning of May with a mix of freestyle dancing and competitions. Competitions range from beginner oriented categories, such as the Lucky Dip (a Jack and Jill competition) and 'Ceroc X' where competitors are restricted to a set list of 8 basic moves, which they have to dance to different musical styles and are judged on performance and musicality.
In recent years, the Intermediate and Advanced Freestyle Categories have been merged into an All Stars category divided into three different age brackets. Above this there is still the Open category, and Top Cats, another Jack and Jill where individual competitors are judged rather than couples. Other categories include Aerials, Showcase, and Team Cabaret competitions.
There are other championships held on a regional or franchise basis, for example the Midlands, Ceroc Scotland and Welsh champs, and the Australasian.
Ceroc also hosts the European Neo-Blues Championships. This is held at the weekender 'Breeze' at the Pontins at Brean Sands in October, and includes an invitational Masters Jack and Jill, Blues Open, Blues DWAS, and Showcase categories.
Ceroc hosts a number of 'Ceroc Escape' dance weekenders throughout the year, attracting hundreds of dancers from around the UK and Europe. Most of these take place at the Pontins holiday resorts at Camber Sands, Southport and Somerset. Other more luxurious weekenders are held at hotels, such as LUX and Swish. Freestyle dancing begins on the Friday night and carries on through until the Monday morning. During the day a range classes and workshops are available with teachers from around the country. Most events have a Saturday night cabaret, featuring teachers showcase, competition, and showcase performances.
In 2005, Ceroc Enterprises completed the purchase of Rebel Roc, along with its annual dance weekender event at Pontins, Camber Sands. The first such event under the ownership of Ceroc Enterprises was Ceroc "Storm" at Camber Sands in March 2006. Ceroc Enterprises has been expanding its weekender offerings, and has taken over weekender venues from JiveTime (Camber Sands) at the end of 2007, and Jive Addiction (Southport) in August 2008.
- "James Cronin - Dance Coaching"
- "How to jive - spotlight on Ceroc"
- IPO trademark details for "Ceroc"
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- Ceroc franchises in the UK Archived July 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
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- The Ceroc Enterprises international web site
- What to expect of a Ceroc Night
- Directory of Modern Jive organizations world-wide
- UK Jive - Independent directory of UK dance organisations and events
- 'Lynda's List' of current and forthcoming UK dance events
- Jiveoholics Anonymous - directory of dance moves
- The LeRoc Modern Jive Federation
- Ceroc and Modern Jive Dance Company Australia web site
- Ceroc Perth Western Australia web site
- The Jive Treasure Box - A comprehensive database of Modern Jive moves illustrated